The Election is Over Can We Stop Insulting Each Other?
The divisiveness in our country over the presidential election bothers me more than I know how to express. It breaks my heart because I know and genuinely love people on both sides of the issue. It tears me up to hear either side attacking the other side’s character as a whole. Because I hear those insults and I immediately think of the people I know on that side and think, “they aren’t like that at all”.
Of course, I have the rather unique experience of having lived in the very un-liberal South and moving to the quite liberal North. In North Carolina, my husband was a college professor and we were always judged as “conservatives” among the college crowd, which is quite a dirty word for them. It means you are closed minded and ignorant. (You want to feel judged in America try being a Christian professor!) Then outside of the college, we were labeled “liberals” by our friends and neighbors in the rural town where we lived, which is another insult that means, “you don’t really believe the Bible”. Then we moved to Rhode Island! And now we go to a crazy church with people all over the place politically (judging from FB)! In each of these unique settings, I learned to really deeply love and respect people that I don’t completely agree with.
Because of how these experiences have shaped me, I have been appalled by the divisiveness I have seen over this election. The insulting things I’ve heard from people that I call my friends have caused me to struggle with respecting them more than anything I’ve ever disagreed with anyone on. I disagree with many of you politically but I strongly, vehemently, whole-heartedly disagree with most of you on your divisive insults to the other side!!!!!
The way many have conducted themselves in this election reminds me of when I was in fourth grade. Two girls would get in an argument. They would write their names on a piece of paper and pass it around the room. You had to sign your name under whose side you were on and then each side would argue with the other. I once made the mistake of signing both sides and I went home crying that day because both sides hated me for not hating the other side. You had to choose a side and the other side was pure evil. That’s how elementary school kids argue. It shouldn’t be how adults argue.
When you attack people that support Hilary Clinton and say that they are un-Christian, immoral, and ignorant: I think of my family members that have been hurt by racism. I think of people that I love in the LGBT community who are scared by the hate speech they have heard from some Republicans. I think of all of my friends in social work who are fighting for better lives for the overlooked and under-served in our country.
And I see my brother. He is more liberal than I am. He is an incredibly caring man. He is a strong Christian that cares more about the underdog than anyone I've ever known. He is one of the funniest, most intelligent, and generous people I know. He is married to a wonderful, intelligent, caring black woman. Because of his marriage, he has been shocked by how much racism he has seen in America. I remember him telling me that it is hard for a white person to understand racism because we have never been judged simply by the color of our skin. He said that when he started hearing comments directed towards him and his family, it profoundly impacted the way he saw the world. He is a democrat and voted for Hilary because of his views on social issues.
So yeah, when you insult democrats, I take it personally because you are insulting people I love! Sure, disagree with them. I’m all for that. Nobody has had more arguments with my brother than me (except maybe his wife!) but don’t insult my brother or then we have a problem!!!!
And when you insult Republicans, and say they are racists, sexists, immoral and ignorant: I think of my family members who have dedicated their lives to serving other people. I think of friends that I know who are police officers and in the military who have been deeply hurt by a seeming lack of concern for the deaths of their comrades. I think of farmers that I worked with in NC who genuinely believe that the best way to help migrant workers is to keep them from coming here illegally. I think of hard working business owners who are incredibly frustrated with current policies.
And I see my other brother who is a Republican. He is more conservative than me and he is also a genuinely awesome man and devoted Christian. This brother is a hard-working father that is also incredibly generous and committed to serving people. He has devoted his life to caring for his family and helping other people. He would bend over backwards to help anyone in need. I would say that he votes Republican because he believes in small government and less taxes. He has spent a lot of time volunteering with organizations that help the homeless and people living in poverty, but he sees how welfare can destroy initiative so he believes in welfare reform. While I don’t 100% agree with my brother on everything I take issue with anyone that says he is a racist, sexist, elitist, or uncaring and ignorant. (Although I’m fine with you making fun of his bald head and saying he sounds like Larry the Cable Guy!) LOL
There are real people getting hit by those insults you are throwing around and they aren’t as awful as you might like to believe. These are just two examples of some truly awesome people on opposite sides of the political spectrum. I love them both dearly. Please, talk about your party’s policies. Let’s talk about gun control, abortion, taxes, government waste, corruption, the effects of social media, foreign policy, etc… without personally insulting each other.
I often talk to married couples about how to argue (cause Brian and I are really, really, good at it!) I always tell them, “When you are married, there is no ‘win/ lose’. It is either ‘win/win’ or ‘lose/lose’”. And this applies to us as a country. We are all in this together. We need to disagree, that is part of what makes us human. We will never fully agree. I can guarantee that you won’t fully agree with me! But, we can work together and respect each other.
If we can learn to work together, I’m sure we will find that we really are better together!*
*Yep! I totally stole that from Nate and the 98 cause it’s an awesome saying!
My other brother asked me to include the Bible verse, Job 2:10 “…shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” and explain that we should still support America even when things aren’t going our way.
The next time we are all together, I’m sure we will argue about this article, and I will be the peace maker because that is how HOLY I am!!! LOL